1 of 2 men in Christmas Day substation attacks in Pierce County receives prison sentence

TACOMA, Wash. — One of two men who pleaded guilty to vandalizing several electrical substations in Pierce County on Christmas Day last year, cutting power to thousands, was sentenced to 18 months in prison on Friday.

Jeremy Crahan, 40, pleaded guilty in September. According to the Justice Department, Crahan admitted that he and Matthew Greenwood vandalized the substations as part of a scheme to cut power so they could break into businesses and ATMs and steal cash.

“These defendants launched a scheme that left thousands of people in the cold and dark in the middle of winter, A scheme that was dangerous – for them and for the workers that had to make repairs to the high voltage equipment,” said Acting U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Washington, Tessa M. Gorman. “Their motivation was greed – but all they got was a small amount of money from a restaurant cash register while doing more than $235,000 in damage.”

The plea agreement says that on Dec. 25, 2022, Greenwood and Crahan damaged four substations:

  • Hemlock Substation in Puyallup owned by Puget Sound Energy. The two cut through a fence and Greenwood manipulated a switch, cutting power for 8,000 customers.
  • Elk Plain substation in Spanaway owned by Tacoma Power. The men cut padlocks on the gate and Greenwood manipulated breakers to damage equipment and cause an outage.
  • Graham substation in Graham operated by Tacoma Power. The men cut through a fence and Greenwood manipulated a switch to damage equipment. This outage, combined with the Elk Plain substation outage, caused more than 7,500 customers to lose power.
  • Kapowsin Substation in Graham, operated by Puget Sound Energy. The men cut through a fence and Greenwood tampered with a switch causing sparks, flame, and a power outage.

“Crahan shared in the planning and primarily served as a lookout during the attacks on the substations,” a news release from the Justice Department said.

After the Christmas Day vandalism, the men looked for other ways to cause power outages by felling trees, the DOJ said.

The men were arrested before they could cut down trees.

Greenwood, who also pleaded guilty, is scheduled to be sentenced in January.